Sheila P. Burke, chief operating officer and deputy secretary of the Smithsonian under Small, earned more than $10 million in cash and stocks from corporate service while working for Small. She also joined Small in "a level of absenteeism" the review committee sharply criticized, working at the Smithsonian as second-in-command only three days out of every four. Her compensation and leave arrangements with the Smithsonian were known only to Small, who did not disclose the financial disclosure forms she completed, according to the Independent Review Committee.
Beginning in December 2006, Burke headed the search committee that ultimately recommended Gover to Cristian Samper as the next executive director at NMAI, following the impending retirement of inaugural director W. Richard West in November. (Samper, acting executive secretary of the Smithsonian since Small's departure, has the last word in hiring Smithsonian unit museum executives.) Small, already discredited for his Amazonian tribal art collection and his travel expenses, resigned in March 2007 after a Washington Post series exposed further shortcomings of his stewardship at the world's largest museum complex. But even after the June IRC report likened Burke's "level of absenteeism" and lofty compensation to Small's, Burke continued to head the search committee for West's replacement at NMAI.